Sorting technology supplier Tomra and styrenics market leader Ineos Styrolution are part of a partnership with plans to develop a recycling plant for post-consumer PS in Krefeld, Germany. The third project partner is the regional waste management company EGN Entsorgungsgesellschaft Niederrhein, a subsidiary of the utility company Stadtwerke Krefeld. The partners announced on Tuesday that EGN would build the mechanical recycling plant which be able to process up 40,000 tonnes of post-consumer PS per year. The facility, which is expected to go into operation in mid-2025, is to produce recycled polystyrene for food packaging applications.
The municipal waste management EGN is to be responsible for sorting and washing the collected PS waste, while Ineos Styrolution will be responsible for the "super-cleaning" purification process necessary to comply with European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) requirements for food contact applications.
An agreement has been reached with Tomra to provide sorting technology and feedstock, said Ineos. Tomra Feedstock will collect post-consumer polystyrene waste from discarded food packaging and deliver it to the new site in Krefeld, according to the project announcement.
When contacted by EUWID EGN managing director Pierre Vincent said the company was investing €60m in the project which would create 30 new jobs. He expects the dairy industry to especially benefit from the new offering. The process allows them to "mechanically recycle from yoghurt pot to yoghurt pot, creating a true circular economy for this material," Mr Vincent said.
Jürgen Priesters, managing director of Tomra Feedstock, said, "We are proud to contribute to this first commercial-scale polystyrene mechanical recycling facility for food contact applications. Polystyrene has the right composition to be mechanically recycled for food applications. the mission of Tomra Feedstock is to keep PS in true circularity."
Ineos CEO Steve Harrington called the project and exciting step forward for the industry. "Already, we see high interest from customers and brand owners to secure long-term contracts," he noted.
The plastics group Ineos announced plans to significantly expand its production of recycled PS last autumn. It said at the time, it had initiated a cooperation with a recycling company in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia as part of which it planned to build a recycling plant for polystyrene packaging from the Germany's "yellow bag" separate collections for household packaging waste.